With season 5 of The Real Housewives of Potomac in full swing now, the drama is already in full-force. Bravo has been enticing fans with a video trailer showing a physical altercation between cast members, one of whom is now in the hot seat for another reason. Ten years ago, Candiace Dillard Basset tweeted out homophobic and trans-phobic tweets, and they have recently resurfaced.
The RHOP cast is full of successful philanthropists and businesswomen
The RHOP cast is packed with titans of the entrepreneurial and philanthropy world. Every Housewives star brings with them a list of accomplishments a mile long. With such an impressive cast, Basset’s old tweets are a jarring disconnect from the positive influence so many of these women have in their community.
Gizelle Bryant, a socialite and single mother of 3, was raised parents influential in the world of government and philanthropy, and followed in their footsteps. The Potomac native attended Howard University and moved to Baltimore as an adult. There she married megachurch pastor, Jamal Bryant. The couple eventually divorced and Bryant returned to Potomac to settle down with her three daughters. A philanthropist and entrepreneur herself, Bryant helps manage funds that revive major cities in an effort to help those in need, and those in transition. Bryant also owns EveryHue Cosmetics.
Karen Huger grew up on a family farm in Virginia, where she learned strong family values from her hardworking father. As an adult, Huger attended the University of Virginia and became an entrepreneur in beauty, lifestyle and fashion ventures. Huger owns a fragrance being sold on HSN and her own recently-launched wig line. The entrepreneur and businesswoman also is an advocate for Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE), Alzheimer’s Association, and Felicia’s Fund. She is married to her husband of 24 years, Raymond, and the couple has two children together.
Ashley Darby is an entrepreneur with a self-professed passion for hospitality, philanthropy, and holistic health. The Maryland native is an oldest child who worked multiple jobs growing up to help support her family. Darby attended the University of Maryland, where she worked as a bartender to pay her way through college. There she met Michael Darby, an Australian real estate millionaire 29 years her senior, who would change her life. Darby was swept up into the world of lavish lifestyles when they married four years later, and she became stepmother to his two grown children. Darby is a certified yoga instructor and spends her days loving on her new baby boy, Dean Michael Darby.
Baltimore native Robyn Dixon has a degree in business management from the University of Maryland. Dixon married her high school sweetheart Juan, a basketball player who later turned pro. The businesswoman struggled with the married life of a pro athlete’s wife, and the pair split up. Now that Juan is coaching at a local university and life moves at a different pace, the pair has renewed interest in their relationship and are reconciling. They have two sons together, and Dixon is an entrepreneur in a real estate investment business, an event management business, and a fashion accessory business.
Monique Samuels is an entrepreneur as well, and a philanthropist from Pleasantville, New Jersey. Dixon grew up a tomboy with a strong and determined father who taught her independence and resourcefulness. Salutatorian of her high school, Dixon moved to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University on a full scholarship. After leaving the university, Samuels moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in music. There, she met six-time Pro Bowl left tackle for the Redskins, Chris Samuels. They married and have three children together. Now Samuels manages a real estate investment business, business enterprise, and the Christ Samuels Foundation. Most recently, Samuels also launched Not for Lazy moms.
Dr. Wendy Osefo is a well-known name in political circles. a professor, entrepreneur and political analyst, Osefo was born in Negeria and grew up in Maryland. Her single, immigrant mom taught her the value of hard work, and Osefo translated that lesson into enormous success in the academic world. The award-winning TV personality has a Bachelor of Arts from Temple University, a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Science from Rutgers University, and a PhD in philosophy from Rutgers. Osefo was the first black woman to earn a PhD in public affairs and community development. The successful progressive political analyst founded the 195 Equity Project LLC., and works as a professor at Johns Hopkins. Osefo is married to her Nigerian-born husband, Edward, and they have three children together including new baby Kamrynn.
Which brings us to Candiace
With such an enormously successful list of cast members, Candiance Dillard Basset holds her own. The 33-year-old former Miss United States was born in Biloxi, MS, and grew up in Atlanta, GA. Basset’s parents were Air Force physicians, and taught her how to work hard and focus to achieve her goals. After she graduated from Howard University, Basset worked with the White House Offices of Public Engagement as a liason, and later a staffer for former President Barack H Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. The following year is when she earned her Miss United States crown. Basset is the founder of Candiace Dillard Pageant Consulting, co-founder of Prima Hair Collection by Candiace Dillard, and the co-owner of Chateau Salon Suites. Basset married the love of her life, restaurateur, Chris Basset.
A surprising stance for a person with liberal views
While Basset has reminded fans often that she once worked for former President Obama and often takes liberal points of view on the show, long-time fans may not be shocked to see such blatant proof of the beauty queen’s homophobia. In the past, Basset hasn’t shied away from making comments on the sexuality of Darby’s husband
Even so, these born-again old tweets are shocking.
So what’s actually in the tweets?
The tweets say:
- “Queenie gay men irk me.”
- “I’m personally turned off by men who r too into fashion. It’s a fine line. When u do too much, I’m disgusted. Makes me think ‘gay’.”
- “I think my officemate might be a little gay. He does some strange things…..makes me raise an eyebrow here and there.”
- “Phaedra’s husband is so AWKWARD. ughhhhh. I think he might be a little gay too.”
Basset’s fight with Samuels is another image problem for the star
While some fans are inclined to forgive the decade old tweets, others say Basset has gone too far this time. The dramatic Bravo trailers that show Basset fighting with co-star Samuels also paint Basset in an unflattering light.
Co-stars mum, but Basset has something to say
So far, Basset’s co-stars remain quiet on the old tweets. Basset, however, released a statement moments ago. In a tweet, Basset wrote:
“I want to address tweets that resurfaced from nearly ten years ago that may have offended people I love dearly, and those who have supported me as a Potomac housewife.
To my loyal fanbase, particularly the LGBTQIA+ viewers, thank you for your unwavering support. I love you. I, alone, am responsible for my words and I deeply regret saying anything that could have hurt my friends, colleagues, family and fans. At the time, I was a private citizen, speaking carelessly and crassly as we often do, and for my lack of better judgment, I am sorry. While I have always considered myself an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, I recognize my words were insensitive, and undermined the support, reverence and love I have consistently tried to demonstrate through advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights and causes, as well as my personal relationships with those who identify as LGBTQIA+.
While I’ve learned and matured over the past decade, I am still evolving. The language I used carelessly wasn’t acceptable back then, and it isn’t acceptable now. I acknowledge that my words were hurtful, and for that I am deeply sorry. In recent years, I have remained committed to the fight for equality for all. While I have personally experienced the pain of disenfranchisement as a Black woman, I will never know first hand the hurt that many LGBTQIA+ people experience from pervasive discrimination, family rejection, barriers to employment, homelessness, homophobia, transphobia and more.
This has been a humbling experience, but I remain committed to learning and listening to become a more effective and empathetic ally. My prayer is that this may serve as a teachable moment for those who are willing to listen and learn as it has been for me. It’s imperative that we love more, have empathy, and search for understanding. I am truly sorry for my comments and I only ask for patience and understanding as I strive to evolve as a person.
With love and respect,
With such a heartfelt and self-reflective apology, Basset clearly hopes to heal some of the hurt her words have caused. Whether or not fans and consumers of her tweet will accept the apology remains to be seen.